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Sailing5 Best Practices for Multichannel Marketing

There is an old saying that two are better than one. That applies to marketing channels, too. Combining channels reinforces the message, keeps you top of mind, and amplifies results.

Let’s look at five best practices from the field.

1. Just do it.

New to multichannel marketing? Try a simple one-two punch. Combine direct mail and email. Or direct mail with mobile video via QR Code. Add social media sharing buttons to your blog posts and e-newsletters. These are simple first steps that anyone can do. You can add other components over time.

2. Know the strengths and weaknesses of each channel.

Marketing channels are not interchangeable. Each has strengths and weaknesses, so know the pros and cons of each one. Match each channel to the appropriate stage of the campaign.

3. Know your customers’ channel preferences.

For some campaigns, you may want to use multiple channels to reach the same recipient at different times and in different ways. Other times, you may want to communicate primarily or initially through their preferred channel(s). For example, if you offer a company newsletter, don’t just assume everyone wants either the print version or email version and send everyone the same thing. Ask which channel they prefer, then honor their request.

4. Use social and mobile channels to reinforce print.

Print should be the bedrock of any long-term marketing strategy, and social and mobile channels are one of the most powerful ways to boost its effects. For example, when Stage Stores sought to leverage the back-to-school shopping season, it used short codes. The ad campaign ran both in-store and online and prompted shoppers to text a code for a chance to win a new car or instant prizes. While opting in, customers were able to indicate the channel (SMS, voice, or email) and the type of offers they preferred to receive. This paved the way for more relevant communications that honored their customers’ preferences in the future.

5. Break down the silos.

Silos exist in marketing (demographics), purchasing, IT (web forms), customer payments, and customer service, among others. When you think multichannel, start thinking about integrating non-order information such as social media usage, channel preference, and web activity. This can seem overwhelming, so start small—one component at a time.

Multichannel marketing doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to start somewhere.